USP points to pitfalls in teachers’ grounding

The University of the South Pacific (USP) says the test conducted by the Ministry of Education for English proficien­cy of teachers has indicated the need for institutions to place more
12 Jan 2018 11:00
USP points to pitfalls in teachers’ grounding
Early Childhood Education teachers having exams at J Narayan College as part of the selection process required by the Ministry of Education on January 2, 2017.Photo:Vilimoni Vaganalau.

The University of the South Pacific (USP) says the test conducted by the Ministry of Education for English proficien­cy of teachers has indicated the need for institutions to place more emphasis on professional develop­ment.

In response to questions sent by the Fiji Sun, USP Vice-Chancellor Professor Rajesh Chandra said professional development was im­portant for the provision of qual­ity education.

Mr Chandra said the university had taken a pro-active stand by conducting student-teacher inter­views for first year students in the second semester.


This was necessary to gauge their capability to continue with their teacher training programme, he said.

“The interview panelists include representatives from Fiji Teachers Union (FTU), Fijian Teachers As­sociation (FTA), Ministry of Edu­cation officials, selected principals and head teachers and School of Education lecturers.

“As part of its broader commit­ment to professionally prepare teachers for all levels of education in its member countries, the uni­versity is engaged in the training of untrained teachers in regional countries as well as in Fiji,” Mr Chandra said.

He said as part of the teacher training programmes at the uni­versity, all first year students were mandated to pass the university wide course, UU114: English for Academic Purpose in order for them to graduate.

“This is a mandatory course and all students are required to suc­cessfully complete this course to allow them to continue with their academic studies at the university, Mr Chandra said.

“Thus, no student who fails this course is allowed to advance to the next level until a pass is attained in the course. Even if students strug­gled and failed once, USP requires them to repeat and continue to do so until they pass the course.”

The university highlighted that all teacher education programmes had courses to prepare teachers to improve their proficiency in Eng­lish and also to teach effectively in english.

For example, ED170 (Language for Teachers), ED217 (Literacy Processes I) and ED327 (Literacy Process II) are three courses which all teachers needed to complete in order to ensure that they are well prepared in the teaching of Eng­lish language and literature in pri­mary schools.

Mr Chandra said in addition to that, ED350 (Curriculum Studies 2) is a course offered to prepare teachers who will be specialising in the teaching of English at sec­ondary school level.

“This course trains prospective teachers in the strategies that they can use in the teaching of English and the appropriate tools which can be used to develop student’s interest and improve learning of the English language,” Mr Chan­dra said.

The university’s School of Educa­tion is responsible for preparing teachers on teaching pedagogies for different levels of education such as, for teaching english to ear­ly childhood, education and care, special and inclusive education in primary and secondary schools.

Edited by George Kulamaiwasa


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